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Experience more with so much included

  • Explore the old Venetian port of Chania, one of the most picturesque harbours in the eastern Mediterranean
  • Sample Cretan cuisine, acknowledged as some of the best in the country and famed for its organic olive oil, herbs, wine and seafood
  • Stroll through Crete’s beautiful Botanical Park
  • Wonder at the ancient Minoan palace of Knossos, part of Europe’s oldest civilisation
  • Visit Heraklion’s acclaimed archaeological museum with a local guide
  • Enjoy some of the best walks on the island and admire the incredible mountain views and unspoilt villages
  • Return flights from a selection of regional airports, plus hotel transfers
  • Seven nights in three-star accommodation inclusive of all local taxes, plus breakfast and dinner
  • The services of our experienced and insightful tour manager throughout

Selected departures from April to October 2019

 
At a Glance
7 nights in 3-star accommodation
Return flights & transfers
Programme of daily tours & visits
Half board
Expert tour manager
Checked Luggage
 

Overview

Like Sicily, Crete is a distinctively separate region, both geographically and culturally, from the country of which it is a part. As the cradle of the Minoans, the earliest of European civilisations, Crete’s long history has had an inordinate influence on subsequent peoples, including the Mycenaeans, Greeks, Romans and Venetians, who occupied the island for several hundred years. Our tour to the western part of this long, mountainous island will reveal all these and more.

Even amongst the Greeks themselves, Cretan food and produce are acknowledged as the best in the country – its long growing season, fertile soils and proximity to the warmth of North Africa have created a perfect climate with an early spring, when every inch of the island seems covered in wildflowers, and a late autumn that sees wonderfully mild temperatures well into November. The famed Cretan cuisine is considered the best example of the Mediterranean diet – be sure to try kalitsounia – sweet or savoury pies – lamb casserole and, of course, the many local wines.

Cretans are known for their directness, honesty and open hospitality, and like many other island people, they prize their traditions and independent spirit. British guests, in particular, are warmly welcomed as the Cretans still remember the support received from Britain during the Battle of Crete in May 1941 and the subsequent occupation of the island.

We stay for five nights close to the city of Chania, the most picturesque port of the island, full of winding cobbled lanes, fascinating little shops, charming tavernas and old Venetian mansions. Our family-run hotel is beautifully sited, set back from the well-developed north coast and surrounded by vineyards and olive groves. You'll gain fascinating historical insights when we visit both Maleme, where the first German parachutists landed, and look out over Souda Bay, where the Royal Navy was bombed trying to resupply Allied forces (2018 departures).

Going even further back in history, we visit the Hellenistic citadel of Aptera, with its beautiful small amphitheatre, as well as Knossos, one of the Mediterranean’s most important archaeological sites, unearthed and controversially partly reconstructed by Sir Arthur Evans. Our visit to the island’s main archaeological museum will complement our understanding of the Minoan civilisation’s artistic achievements from 1700 BC.

Crete’s rough terrain makes this one of the best walking destinations in Europe, especially along the numerous gorges along the southern flanks of the island’s three main mountain ranges. We have two opportunities to experience and walk through the unique natural environment of the island, with its 150 endemic plants and a species of wild ibex, which you may be lucky enough to spot.

Our last two nights are spent just outside the lovely mountain village of Zaros on the southern slopes of Mt Ida, from where you may either walk the spectacular but little-visited Zaros gorge, or visit a local farm hidden away in the undulating hills, where you can gain a fascinating insight into the wonderful organic produce of the island.

Crete is undoubtedly one of the most diverse and fascinating destinations in Europe. Its historical and cultural treasures are a pleasure to discover and explore, away from the popular resorts of the coast. Once you have visited it, we are sure you'll want to return again and again.

Your Itinerary

Price Includes

The price of this holiday is per person, based on two people sharing a twin room. Single rooms are subject to availability at the relevant supplement above. The price includes return flights as indicated, seven nights accommodation with breakfast and dinner, airport departures taxes and transfers, all tours as mentioned, entrances to the Heraklion Archaeological Museum and Knossos, the Crete Botanical Park, Chania, Aptera ancient site, wine tasting at Dourakis winery, Imbros, Kamihis farm visit and the services of a Riviera Travel tour manager. Hotel swimming pools are not heated and may not be open in early in summer or late autumn, weather permitting.

Personalise Your Holiday


 

Country walk and olive oil tasting - from £40 per person

Take a relaxing walk through the charming villages of Gavalochori and Douliana, visiting a folklore museum and an olive oil factory for a tour and tasting. A light lunch is included at a traditional taverna.

Please call us on 01283 742 300 for more information or to book.

Useful Information

Mobility

We want to ensure you make the correct choice before you book your holiday with us. If you have any concerns regarding the suitability of the holiday due to reduced mobility we would encourage you to call us to discuss these concerns. General information on mobility in connection with our tours can be found here.

Transfer Times

All transfer times listed here are approximate, and dependent on traffic. If you have a question regarding transfer times please don't hesitate to contact us

 Arrival airport First hotel location  Transfer time  Final hotel location  Departure airport  Transfer time
Chania Airport  Agia Marina  40 mins   Zaros Chania Airport   3 hrs 30 mins
Heraklion Airport 2 hrs Heraklion Airport 1 hr

Fact File

  • Currency: Euro
  • Deposit: £100 per person
  • Flight time: Approx. 3 hrs 35 mins
  • Language: Greek
  • Time zone: GMT+2
  • Country: Greece

Accommodation


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